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March 26, 2024 | Daily Devotionals | March 26

The Two Faces of Denial


 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3:18


Scroll your news feed and undoubtedly you will find a story about a VIP in hot water. The headline probably goes something like this: “John Doe Denies any Wrongdoing.” In today’s culture where truth is relative, and doing something illegal is fine unless you get caught, denial is big. Think about the last time someone famous was accused of a crime—especially when the evidence was overwhelming—and said, “Yep, I did it. I was wrong.” (That would be refreshing, right?) Instead, high-profile wrongdoers typically lawyer up and fight to maintain their reputation. 


Spiritual denial is a life-long process of ego diminishment as we mature and walk into His destiny for us. God’s man doesn’t weasel out of personal responsibility: he owns his mistakes, asks forgiveness of those he’s wronged, and makes amends. It’s hard and it takes guts. And the more we hold onto the “old man”—the fallen, unredeemed guy—the harder it is to confess when we’ve messed up. That’s because the stronger the ego-driven man is inside us, the more we want to hide and protect that broken person we don’t want the world to see. 


That’s the mole talking. He’s saying, “If you admit you made a mistake, people will know you are a fraud.” That’s a big fat lie. I’m not saying it’s fun to confess our sins one to another. Here’s the formula, and it’s correlative: The more our old self dies on the throne of grace, the less we will care about our “reputation.” And the beautiful thing about sloughing off old scaly ego skin? The formula flips and pretty soon we care more about pleasing our King than we do about performing for the crowd. 


But there are two sides to this coin: the other face of denial is the face of Jesus on the cross—bloodied, bruised, but eyes burning with compassion for those who crucified Him. He denied His own power to submit to the cross, even as some of the crowd mocked Him, saying, ““You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself!” (Matthew 27:40). Jesus could have done just that; instead, He stayed put and took on the sins of the world for us. That’s ego denial. 


Rather than hiding our true self where we must sweat and strive to maintain a perfect façade, God wants to see us face to face. The person we doubt sometimes; the person we don’t always like. As we give that man to God, He in turn shows us more of Himself—and then, with unveiled faces, all we see is His light, which melts away the masks and reveals who He made us to be.


Father, crucify the old man in me, the one who keeps me from being who You truly made me to be.

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